World Help Operation Baby Rescue: Guatemala

Posted by Brandi Wilson

I don’t know about you, but I have loved following #LALIRescue15 this week on social media. Seeing 25 Leading and Loving It ladies on a mission trip together, rescuing babies and providing hope, love and hugs to so many who feel they’ve been forgotten. Today Lori, Lisa and Noel have a personal message and a challenge just for us.

Guatemala | #LALIRescue15 from World Help on Vimeo.

Want to know how you can partner with us and save 200 babies? How to provide hope in situations that seem hopeless? Join us HERE and help save children in desperate situations who need to know the love of Jesus.

Help us show these children a little bit of heaven right now.

World Help Operation Baby Rescue: Guatemala

The roosters are crowing nearby as I sit watching the sunrise with a cup of strong Guatemalan coffee. It’s not hard in these moments to trust that God is good and in control.

Yesterday, we got to tour most of the Hope of Life property. To say “they are amazing here!” would be an understatement. It is clear that God has given Carlos Vargas (Founder of Hope of Life) His own vision for the least of these. Carlos and his team have found a way to house abandoned lives in every age group here… from the youngest special needs child to the forgotten elderly, lucid as well as those struggling with dementia.

But L&LI is on a Baby Rescue Operation this time around so I’ll share what I saw at the hospital.

The hospital has three floors: Floor One acts as a triage, receiving babies as they come into the hospital from their villages fresh from a rescue. Floor Two houses babies who’ve been there for a bit but aren’t yet well enough to leave yet. And Floor Three houses the more recent patients as well as families that have chosen to come down with their babies (which is always welcomed).

Of course we mostly focused on the babies who didn’t have families here with them. Some babies have families they are scheduled to return to in a village. Others were either abandoned or rescued from an extremely violent and abusive situation.

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On the left is Lisa, obviously trying to out-do us all by spending time with 3 kids at once. Just kidding… I actually just love that she can fit in that tiny chair. But look at her smile.

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On the right, Lori is holding Juan who was staying on the 3rd floor because he a newer patient. As you can see, he’s a bit smaller than the others pictured here.

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On the left, Kimberly’s putting her momma and grandmomma experience to practice holding sweet Manuel.

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On the right, Mardia is speaking to Elvin, a special needs baby. He’s 8 years old, but is the size of a 3 year old. I loved watching Mardia be in her element. There were so many times I wanted to speak to these babies in their native language by obviously came up short. Mardia could do what I couldn’t. And she is amazing.

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And here, I’m cuddling with my favorite, little Katherine, who they all call “Katy”.

The minute I walked into that first room that was Katy’s room, she lifted her arms to me. I didn’t know if we could hold babies yet so I just held her hands. She did NOT like that. She threw herself to the bottom of her crib and just cried a sad resigned cry. Fortunately, they said I could just take her around the hospital with me as we finished our tour. Every time I put her down, she put her arms back up to me. I didn’t mind. So she didn’t leave my arms till we left the hospital later that day.

Katy’s birthday is unknown but they are guessing her to be 18 months old. She was staying on that second floor so she’s actually healthier than some of the other babies at the hospital… but she has no family to go “back” to so she’s permanently a part of the Hope of Life family.

I posted her photo with me yesterday saying “If I had my way, Chance & Paxton would have a baby sister.” Katy IS precious… and I DO want to take her home. But the truth is, she IS home. She was rescued. She is living a happy ending… a life of hope, not despair. There are children YET to be rescued that need it more than we will ever understand. In order for that to happen, we need your help. Honestly, we need your wallet.

Carlos Vargas, the founder of Hope of Life said a couple of profound things yesterday that I’d like to share here. He said,

“I’m not afraid of the bad people. I’m afraid of the good people who don’t do anything when others are being raped and dying of hunger.”

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“When you are hurt, you don’t need religion. You need help and solutions.”

To help rescue babies with your financial gift, CLICK HERE.

Help us rescue more like Katy, Manuel, Juan and Elvin.

“How To” Know You Are Power-Full When You Feel Power-Less

How ToListen, leading is not an easy task. It requires tons of effort, time, scheduling and stamina. It can keep us up at night. It can drain even the strongest of the strong. And it can cause a person who started out excited and passionate, to plummet into a place of complete and utter defeat.

Have you been there? I have. In fact, I’ve been in each of the above places. Leadership has given me some of the most rewarding moments in my life.  And leadership has thrown me some crazy curve balls—in fact, there were times I didn’t have the power to swing the bat, let alone hit the ball.

Maybe you’ve been in one of those places like I have. There were days, weeks and even seasons when I didn’t feel I had the strength nor the power to lead. I felt power-less. But the Bible reminded me that “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). So in moments when I feel power-less, it’s God who gives me what I need to get the job done—to lead with power, influence and strength.

Power, by definition, is the ability that you have to influence or direct others. So we are given power, in essence, to influence. Not to stronghold people. Not to pull rank. Not to bully or get our way. God empowers us to be able to influence and lead others by our example!

So although you may not feel you have power, you really do!  How do you know? Because God has put it inside of you. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and sound mind.” So let’s talk about how to know you are power-full even when you feel power-less.

1) There is Power in Your Position.

Senior pastor’s wife, worship leader, campus pastor’s wife, administrator, women’s ministry director and really ALL leadership positions in ministry are influential. While you may feel intimidated by your “title” or you compare yourself to someone who has a similar role, remember that you have been placed in this position for “such a time as this” to lead and influence those around you. Your position has power because God has given it to you!  Know that this power given to you is intended to build up, to encourage, to direct, to create unity, to teach, to love and to lead the vision—all of the same qualities that we see in the leadership of Jesus.  Jesus said in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”  You have the power to lead. Why? Because Jesus said so! The more you believe it, the more you will walk in it.

2) There is Power in Your Prayer

Not convinced you have power? Then just take a minute and remind yourself of the many prayers that God has answered for you. James 5:16 states, “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Our prayers truly have power. And there’s something about being persistent and continually praying.  I’m not sure how everything works with God, but I do know this: When we pray, things happen. The results may not always be what we expect, but 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to continually “pray without ceasing”. When there is conflict in your leadership team—pray without ceasing. When your marriage is struggling because of your time at church—pray without ceasing. When you’re not sure of the next step in the direction of your ministry—pray without ceasing. Keep reminded that your prayers have great power.

3) There is Power in Your Perseverance

There have been a few definitive times in my years in ministry when I have been ready to throw in the towel. About seven years ago, I told my husband, Tim, that I was going to quit ministry and stop leading. It was too hard. People were too critical and opinionated. I didn’t have it in me to stay the course. I wasn’t willing to go through the tough moments anymore.  And then God spoke into my heart. He simply said, “If not you, then who? Linda, how can you stop when I’ve called you? How can you give up when there are still more to reach?”  And I realized in that brief moment that one of the most significant and powerful aspects of leading, was persevering. Through my example and ability to persevere, to keep going, to not stop, to continue on—I would show and influence others to do the same! It was an “a-ha” moment for me. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest—if we do not give up.” We can’t give up because there is power is in our perseverance! Remember that changing course or changing direction is not giving up. Giving up is giving up. Keep going. God believes in you!!

What are some other ways how to know that you are power-full when you feel power-less? Please share with us!!

12 Steps To A Healthier Staff Culture: Step 12

Posted by Liz Sarno

Regardless of your official title or role within your church, as the Sr. Pastor’s wife you have a different type of responsibility. Maybe you co-pastor your church and lead right alongside your husband. And that means you are heavily involved in all aspects of church administration and decision-making. Or maybe you aren’t involved in any official capacity but support your man from the front row on weekends. Perhaps you might be somewhere in the middle. You have some form of responsibility within the church, you run a department or participate in an area of ministry.

No matter what your title is, you are a leader and you have the capacity to influence your staff. Whether or not you are on the payroll, occupy an office, or are a part of the teaching team, you are called to lead within your church. By default people are looking to you to be an example. So it’s important to embrace the role that God has given you and lead well in whatever position He has placed you in.

If you are a Sr. Pastor’s Wife to a congregation of 5,000 or fifty, no matter your level of involvement in the church, there are two words that clearly define one of the greatest things you can do to lead well and help create a healthy staff culture.

Love Well.

Love your husband well. He may be an amazing pastor who is filled with wisdom and vision. He might be able to preach the house down and share revelation straight from heaven. He might have the capacity to inspire others, and have a church full of people who love and encourage him. But at the end of the day, he needs your love and encouragement most of all. He needs to know that you support him, that you have his back, and that you are his greatest fan. No matter how many others might be cheering your husband on, he needs your voice to be the loudest.

Ask your husband what he needs from you and be willing to honor his requests. Sometimes we assume we know but it’s best to hear from him. Regardless of whatever other role(s) you play in your church, you were first called to be your husband’s wife, and your first responsibility is to make sure that you are fulfilling that calling to the best of your ability. You have the capacity to directly affect the culture of your church by loving your husband well because when the Sr. Pastor is healthy, it trickles down to the staff and ultimately to the church as a whole.

12 aI have to admit there were seasons in my life when my own pride and selfishness caused me to fail miserably in this area. However, I have since realized that my husband is my first ministry and the one that I will be most accountable to God for. I still miss the mark from time to time but I constantly check myself to make sure he is my first priority beyond anything else I may do in our ministry.

Love your staff and leadership team well. These are the people who invest their time, efforts and energy into your church. Show your staff that you truly care about them and go the extra mile to let them know they are important to you impacts them deeply. Recognize milestones in their lives like birthdays, anniversaries and their children’s birthdays with a handwritten note. Make the effort to be involved in their lives, celebrating their victories and being there for them in the rough times. Send a text message or call them on the phone to let them know you are thinking about them or praying for them. Get to know their children and let them know they are loved and valued by you are just a few practical ways for you personally to love your staff well.

When your staff feels loved and valued they are more likely to love and value those in their departments creating not only a healthy staff culture, but a healthy overall church culture. What you model for them, they will in turn model for others.

In what ways do you love your husband well? Take time each day to do something to show him how much you love and support him. 

What relational contributions have you made into the lives of your staff members and leadership team? Make a plan to let each of them know regularly how valuable they are to you.

12 Steps To A Healthier Staff Culture: Step 11

Posted by Heather Palacios

Step 11My lead pastor’s wife is Lisa Hughes. I’ve known Lisa since 1997 when we met in a single’s group in Cooper City, Florida. Little did we know, we would meet our husbands there, too!

Life took us on separate paths for many years and then reunited us. In January 2010, Pastor David and Lisa hired my husband, Raul, and me to serve on their staff at Church by the Glades.Raul and I knew David and Lisa back in the day, but I never would have guessed in a million years that thirteen years later, Raul and I would have the honor of being under their leadership. Every day I can’t wait to get up and serve my leaders and our church. It’s a holy adrenaline rush, and I’m addicted to it! When I look at the last five years of ministry with Pastor David and Lisa, there are many things that come to mind that have made the last five years some of the best of my life. 

Recently, I had a conversation with our student pastor’s wife, Summer Boone. We both agreed that one of our staff-dynamics here at Church by the Glades is “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Here’s the dealio, there are decisions Lisa is going to make, and there are things I’ll be asked to do that don’t always make sense. And that’s okay!  

As the lead pastor’s wife, Lisa has the ear of the entire church body. I, on the other hand, do not. Knowing on the front end that “I don’t know what I don’t know,” helps with two things: Insecurity and questioning. So much strife is kept at bay if we aren’t REacting out of insecurity or nosiness, which is sometimes disguised as inquisitiveness. Essentially, I can just do what is asked, trust Lisa in the process, and sleep at night because I don’t know what I don’t know!

For example, Lisa might ask me to sit with a certain guest of hers at an event or in a service. I don’t ask why, not just to Lisa, but even to myself. There are a thousand questions that could trample through our heads when our leaders ask us to do something and they don’t front-load it with a bunch of juicy details.

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Our staff is great at not entertaining such thoughts because “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Conversely, Pastor David and Lisa can “know what they wanna know!” It’s true! This notion our staff subscribes to doesn’t necessarily go both ways. Pastor David and Lisa are essentially, “Allowed to know.” And it’s not because they’re nosey or distrusting. It’s because they’re responsible! This church, our staff, and all the people who flow in and out of it are their responsibility.

When Lisa asks things, I trust that it’s because she’s responsible for it, and she cares. Much like a shepherd to a lamb. Now hear me, I didn’t always operate this way. And frankly, I have learned this dynamic through the school of hard knocks. But over the course of my ten years on a church-staff, I’ve learned it, and I’m applying it.

Ladies, a church culture that has a healthy relationship with the women on it must really tick off the devil. But ladies, if God is for us, who dare come against us! Let’s kick some butt in Jesus’ name!

In what ways do you need to trust your leaders more? If you are struggling in this area, pray and ask God to help you get to the root of it.